Leaving Cheltenham .......and all that was dear
Remembering those of Cheltenham who made the
supreme sacrifice in the Great War
Every day, every month, not just in November - Let Light Perpetual Shine Upon Them
Copyright and source - Imperial War Museum, under Share and Re-use
|"And to us who are left to mourn their departure grant that we may not sorrow as those without hope for our beloved who sleep in thee. But that always remembering their courage and the love that united us on earth, we may begin with new courage to serve thee more fervently, and that when we have passed a few more days in this valley of tears we may see them again face to face in those pastures where we trust they already walk with thee." Inscriptions on the Salperton War Memorial, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.|
Thank you for visiting this site. The information presented here has in the main been obtained from the public domain and is therefore freely available to all who wish to copy material from it (less some images - see below). Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented on this site, which should be considered as a living document since information is constantly being expanded and updated.
Purpose of the Site
The purpose and aim of this website is twofold. It is to list all War Memorials and Rolls of Honour in the Cheltenham and surrounding area and to commemorate those of the area who gave their lives in the Great War. To quote from the book Leaving All That Was Dear - "The memorials were erected by a grateful community to perpetuate the memory of "the fallen" and the sacrifice made not only by them, but also by the families they left behind. In the past, the memory of those men lived on in the hearts and minds of their relatives and friends. We believe that the time has now come for this to be recorded, for the sake of posterity"
Cheltonians served and died for their country on land, in and on the sea and in the air. To complement the Roll of Honour a separate part of this website is devoted to the ships, regiments, corps and air squadrons in which Cheltonians were serving when they were killed in action , or died of wounds, of illness or accidentally killed, and this can be viewed here.
Site Construction and Administration
The site has been created using Microsoft FrontPage, launched on 1st June 2001 and is regularly updated.
Training in Cheltenham ................. Members of the 10th Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment "The Fighting Tenth", pose for a photograph during training near Battalion HQ located in the Lansdown Crescent area of Cheltenham.
Mr John Dowling of Brisbane, Australia very kindly provided the photo and permitted its use on this website and this is acknowledged with thanks.
Training on Leckhampton Hill, Cheltenham ................. Members of the 10th Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment pose for a photograph during training at Leckhampton Hill in early 1915.
Photo sourced by and purchased from "The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum".
Leaving Cheltenham ................. Members of the 10th Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment on the platform of Cheltenham LMS Railway Station with their families on 3rd August 1915. They are leaving Cheltenham ....... and all that was dear. Their first time in action would be on 25th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos, when most of the battalion would become casualties.
An enormous amount of information is available in the book "Leaving All That Was Dear", through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), and the publication on CD-ROM "Officers and Soldiers Died in the Great War" (ODGW/SDGW) which together form the basis of this site. Attempts have been made to photograph each of the Official War Memorials, Rolls of Honour and monuments in the area and list and investigate those names inscribed upon them. There are some apparent anomalies in the Book, at the CWGC, on local memorials and in the ODGW/SDGW CD-ROM - these are listed here as observations. The long term aim is to correct these, as the Memorial Scroll urges future generations - "Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten" and this is the best way to remember them. The suggested amendments prepared for the CWGC/MoD can be seen here.
It is assumed that if a deceased person's name appears on a memorial then those responsible for the erection of that memorial had accepted that the person in question had an association with the town, village, parish or church. The book reveals several instances of soldiers commemorated on memorials who apparently have no association or connections with Cheltenham. The authors of the Book, despite their efforts, did not trace these people and they "still remain either partially or wholly unidentified, a tantalising and frustrating puzzle". These unidentified people are listed here and another long term aim is to try and discover who they were and their connection with Cheltenham. The advent of the 1901 and 1911 Census may be a valuable tool in these investigations as well as the FreeBMD Project (free internet access to the Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales from 1837). Similarly, Ancestry has published on the internet the official indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths for England and Wales from 1837 including the Overseas Deaths Index which includes officers and servicemen who died in the Great War between 1914 and 1921. The ODGW/SDGW CD-ROM has provided names of locally born people who do not appear on local memorials. These names can be viewed here though it is doubtful that the reasons for their non-inclusion will ever be discovered.
Every reasonable care to ensure that the information published is as accurate as possible has been taken. However, should errors or omissions be discovered by visitors to the site, then please notify the Webmaster so that corrective action can be taken. Contact details are noted above.
During the research it has been discovered that some local soldiers appear not to have been included in the Debt of Honour Register at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and investigations have included researching these servicemen and, when sufficient documentary evidence has been gathered, to present this evidence to the Commission for their consideration. A list of these servicemen, with others whom are currently being researched, for whatever reason, can be seen here. Also, some records held in the Debt of Honour Register contain incorrect or inaccurate information the CWGC have been informed about these records. A full list of those amendments that have suggested can be viewed here.
UK National Inventory of War Memorials
The national inventory of war memorials (UKNIWM) is an Imperial War Museum sponsored research project and was launched on 8th November 2001. The aim of the inventory is to record all physical objects in the UK created or installed to commemorate those who died as a result of conflict. A memorial, which does not include an individual grave, is defined as an object to reunite those who were separated by a conflict, who left their homes, colleagues and friends to serve in a war. The database at the Imperial War Museum was checked in 2003 and several apparent omissions and inaccuracies in the entries for the Cheltenham and surrounding area Memorials were discovered and notified to the IWM. Those memorials currently included on the database have been allocated a reference number, for example, the Cheltenham War Memorial is 20599 and the commemoration to Major Douglas REYNOLDS, VC, on his father's gravestone in St Peters Churchyard Leckhampton is 32312. A summary of memorials and rolls of honour in Cheltenham and surrounding areas incorporating the current UKNIWM reference number can be viewed here.
War Memorials Trust
The site is intended for researchers, students, military and family historians and anyone who is keen to discover this small but all too significant part of Cheltenham's past.
Searching For Casualties, Regiments and Locations
Those searching for deceased ancestors or relatives whose surname is known, please go to the Roll of Honour page and begin your search from there. Searches can also be made through the Memorials, Cemeteries and Commemorations pages. A specific Cheltonian, location or regiment can be found by using the site search facility below - enter Surname, or Location or Regiment only. (Please excuse the adverts at the top of the Search Results page - a price that has to be payed for the free search engine).
Many Cheltonians emigrated to Commonwealth/Empire countries prior to 1914 and enlisted into the forces of that country at the outbreak or during the Great War. A total of 77 Cheltonians who made the ultimate sacrifice whilst serving in the forces of the country they emigrated to are listed here, with 22 professional officers serving with the Indian Army. These can usually be traced through the many official search facilities for British and Commonwealth casualties. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, which lists burial or commemoration details for those who died in both world wars can be interrogated here. Details regarding Australian casualties can be found in the official Australian War Memorial website, and those for Canadian servicemen are listed in the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Veterans Affairs Office. Official lists of New Zealand casualties can be seen here, and South African casualties are not as yet available for viewing and are in the course of being documented.
No-one who has ever visited war cemeteries can fail to be moved by the row upon row of white headstones laid out in such beautifully maintained cemeteries. Each headstone represents a personal tragedy, but collectively, they represent a generation of men, each of whom 'answered the call'. Every headstone marks the final resting place of someone's husband, father, brother or son and, in one or two cases, a daughter or sister. Many families, over 100 in Cheltenham, were devastated by the loss of 2 or more family members and these Cheltonian families are listed here.
Many families wanted a permanent memorial to those they lost nearer to home and made arrangements for a commemoration to be made on headstones in family plots in local cemeteries and a list of these can be viewed here. In addition, some are remembered on a commemorative plaque or tablet in a church, chapel or other location. More recently in the internet age, some descendants of those who lost their lives have made a public tribute to their relative and one such tribute, to Gunner Arthur Ernest Allsopp of Burton Street, St Paul's, Cheltenham can be viewed here. Beverley Young and Mark Allsopp, who contributed the photos and kindly permitted their use in this site were the driving force of the tribute.
Underage Soldiers and Young Sailors
During the immediate period after the declaration of war on the 4th August 1914 many men were inspired by the news, drum-beating and pressure to conform, to enlist. Men joined up for all manner of reasons, including a natural desire to quit a humdrum or arduous job, take a chance of seeing another country, or to escape family or troubles. Many young Cheltonians enlisted whilst under the minimum age (19 years of age, reduced to 18 years in April 1918). Some of these young men (boys) died whilst serving their country and those we are aware of are listed here as well as young lads who served in the Royal Navy as Midshipmen.
Facts and Figures
Many fascinating facts and figures have emerged from the research - though an enormous amount has been gleaned from the book. The most significant fact is that the town lost 44 of its sons on one day, the 25th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos, including 2 who were awarded posthumous Victoria Crosses for gallantry at Loos. These 44 men are commemorated here and the VC winners can be viewed here. A total of 110 Cheltonians and others whose death was the result of service in the Great War are buried in CWGC graves within Cheltenham Cemetery and a further 16 are buried in graves which are not officially recognised as war graves. Some 107 Cheltonians and 16 others are commemorated on the headstones of family or relatives in this cemetery and these are listed here. There are 196 commemorated on family headstones in the 11 local cemeteries and a summary of these can be viewed here. There are 29 who are remembered on commemorative plaques, tablets and stained glass windows in 13 local churches, chapels and other establishments and another 5 have been discovered elsewhere in the UK.
A total of 761 Cheltonians are buried as war casualties in 381 cemeteries throughout the world. 517 are buried in 254 cemeteries in France and 120 are buried in 59 cemeteries in Belgium. 16 Cheltonians are buried in the Etaples Cemetery, France, alone. Full details can be seen here.
639 Cheltonians who were killed in battle and have no known grave, or who were killed or lost at sea, are commemorated on 45 Memorials To The Missing throughout the world. There are 329 commemorations on 15 memorials in France with 138 being listed on the Thiepval Memorial in the Somme area. A further 168 are commemorated on 5 memorials are in Belgium, mostly in the Ypres area. 51 Cheltonians were killed or lost at sea and are commemorated on Naval and other Memorials, a list of these men can be viewed here. 7 Cheltonians were buried at sea.
There are 167 Cheltonians who are known to be buried within the UK and Ireland and a list of these can be seen here. A further 37 are thought to be buried in the UK, mostly in the Cheltenham area and investigations continue to locate these graves.
Images of the Great War
When one thinks of the Great War many images are conjured up. Soldiers on the march covered in mud, trenches, barbed wire, the dead and dying, desolate landscapes, artillery in action and its effects, row after row of white headstones, memorials and rolls of honour. Government also produced images - posters of brave young men marching off into the sunlight to fight the good fight. Posters extolling men and women to do national service, in munitions factories and in mines, or to buy war savings certificates. A selection of these official posters, with some battlefield images, can be viewed here.
Honours, Awards and Decorations
Many Cheltonians received honours and awards for bravery in the Great War. Five Cheltonians were awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery, and details of their awards can be viewed here. Those honours and decorations awarded to deceased Cheltonians are recorded against their name in the Roll of Honour pages. A list of medals that were awarded for service in the war, or plaques and scrolls presented to the next of kin of deceased servicemen can be seen here.
Hospitals and Medical Care for Battle Casualties in Cheltenham
During the course of the Great War eight major Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) hospitals were established in Cheltenham. These were primarily set up to deal with military casualties evacuated from the battlefield, through the Army medical evacuation chain, to the UK. Full details of these hospitals can be seen here.
After the War
The Great War officially ended on 31st August 1921. One of the more unfortunate effects of this was that the previous recognition of war casualty status by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission ceased to exist. In effect, all servicemen whose death was attributable to wounds or illness caused by war service were no longer entitled to a recognised grave or official headstone. Many Cheltonians died after this date of wounds or injury caused by war service - they are not officially recognised. Some are listed here, a tribute to these heroes.
To Joe Devereux and Graham Sacker for their superb book "Leaving All That Was Dear". To the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for their never ending work to ensure that those who belong in the Debt of Honour Register do actually appear there. To the people in the Acknowledgements page for their help and information.
In the quest for information many Great War and associated websites have been visited. A short list of these sites is contained on the links page, and some of these sites have made a reciprocal link to this site, including the Cheltenham Borough Council website (under Genealogy/Cheltenham Remembers). The site was also featured in the July 2003 edition of Family History Monthly.
A total of visitors have viewed the site since 1st July 2003, when this hit counter was introduced. It is hoped that all have found their visit worthwhile. Any comments from visitors would be greatly appreciated - see contact details above.
25th July 2004. Australian visitors, Allan and Anne Davis, who found through the website that two of their ancestors of Cheltenham fought and died in the Great War and are commemorated on Cheltenham War Memorial, visit Cheltenham. Further details can be viewed here.
16th October 2004. The lecture 'A War in Words' is attended - The First World War in Diaries and Letters by Svetlana Palmer and Sarah Wallis held at the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham. Further details can be viewed here.
18th October 2004. CWGC notifies that a case of non-commemoration that was submitted in July has been accepted by the Ministry of Defence. Pte William Bernard Henry LINDSEY, 2/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, who died on 17th March 1920 after discharge from the Army will be classified as an official war casualty and commemorated on the Debt of Honour Register maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Further details can be viewed here.
11th November 2004. Mr Ron Lambert of Gillingham seeks assistance in tracing relatives of 2Lt Gwilliam Emmanuel Henry ROSS of Cheltenham who was killed in action in France on 3rd July 1916, aged 25. Full details can be viewed here.
25th September 2005. A service of remembrance was organised at Christ Church, Cheltenham, to commemorate the 44 Cheltonians who gave their lives on 25th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos. Full details can be viewed here.
23rd November 2005. A service at Cambray Baptist Church, Cheltenham, celebrating 150 years of the Cheltenham YMCA, is attended Full details can be viewed here.
23rd April 2006. The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Katia Day Service at St Mary de Lode Church (near Gloucester Cathedral) is attended. The Service was followed by a wreath laying at the RGH Memorial and a reception at the Chapter House.
27th September 2006. Cheltenham commemorates Major General Daniel Marcus William BEAK, VC. A bronze plaque commemorating Daniel Beak is unveiled at the Cheltenham War Memorial. Full details can be viewed here.
28th September 2006. At the request of relatives living in Scotland, the author places a small commemorative cross at the grave of Lt George Frederick DELMAR-WILLIAMSON in St Peter's Churchyard, Leckhampton. Full details can be viewed here.
1st December 2006. Shurdington soldier Pte William LINDSEY, who died on 17th March 1920 of wounds received in the Great War has been officially remembered. Granted war casualty status by the Ministry of Defence in November 2004, the CWGC have erected an official headstone in St Paul's Churchyard, Shurdington near the southern entrance gate. As his actual final resting place could not be determined the headstone bears the inscription "Buried Elsewhere In This Churchyard". Full details can be viewed here.
18th December 2006. Cheltenham soldier Driver Frederick George LODGE, Royal Field Artillery, who died on 9th February 1920 as a result of wounds received in the Great War has been officially granted war casualty status by the Ministry of Defence. The CWGC will erect an official headstone on Dvr Lodge's grave in Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston, USA, in due course. Full details can be viewed here.
18th December 2006. Adopted Cheltonian Captain Edmund MARSDEN, Indian Army, who died of illness in Burma on 26th May 1915 has been officially granted war casualty status by the Ministry of Defence. The CWGC will erect an official remembrance plaque in the Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma (now Myanmar) in due course. Full details can be viewed here.
14th February 2007. Cheltonian soldier Pte Charles Francis BARTON, Australian Army, who died of illness in Australia on 28th July 1917 has been granted official war casualty status by the Australian Ministry of Defence. The CWGC will erect an official remembrance plaque on his headstone in the Rookwood Necropolis, Sydney, NSW, in due course. Full details can be viewed here.
1st March 2007. Adopted Cheltonian soldier Pte Robert Browell CHIVERTON, RAMC, who died of illness in Enfield on 24th February 1917 has been granted official war casualty status by the Ministry of Defence. Full details can be viewed here.
10th July 2007. MoD rejects the case for Cheltonian soldier Pte Charles Ernest James BROOKES, who died of illness in Cheltenham on 17th October 1915 to be granted official war casualty status. Full details can be viewed here.
19th October 2007. CWGC informs that an official headstone has been erected on the grave of Dvr Frederick George LODGE in Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston, USA.
15th November 2007. Cheltonian soldier Cpl Douglas CLEE, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, who died of illness in Brentwood on 23rd February 1919 has been granted official war casualty status by the Ministry of Defence. Full details can be viewed here.
25th August 2010. Cheltonian soldier Pte Oliver ARKELL, 1/5th Bn Glos Regt, who died of illness in Cheltenham on 23rd March 1918 has been granted official war casualty status by the Ministry of Defence. Full details can be viewed here.
12th November 2010. CWGC Leamington Office are to visit Cheltenham Cemetery in the New Year to amend official headstone of Dvr Preston (Plot E.843). Full details can be viewed here. March 2011. Dvr Preston's headstone has now been amended.
1st May 2013. Major maintenance and adjustments on the site commences in preparation for the 2014 Centenary Celebrations.
Copyright and source - Imperial War Museum, under Share and Re-use
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
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